Take out all portfolios that the farmers' union calls for


The food sovereignty initiative calls for bold steps and more is in agricultural policy. We need courageous steps. More is certainly not.

Angelica Hardegger

Many farmers had to stop working in recent years. This is painful for the individual. But agriculture must become more competitive. (Photo: Karin Hofer / NZZ)

Many farmers had to stop working in recent years. This is painful for the individual. But agriculture must become more competitive. (Photo: Karin Hofer / NZZ)

They emptied milk, bathed in it, demonstrated and revolted: in the summer of 2008, a milk strike moved to Switzerland. Hundreds of farmers followed Uniterre's call for a "fair" price. Now, ten years later, the farmers' union is planning a new uprising. Meeting point is in the polls on 23 September. Then the initiative on the food sovereignty of Uniterre is put to the vote.

Initial studies show that the initiative enjoys a lot of sympathy among the population. But it's just like Chile con Carne for sharpness-sensitive: at the first bite quite tasty (the federal government must promote the agriculture that produces "healthy" food and is sustainable), the second and third bites are called, from the fourth absolutely inedible . What the union members of the farmer demand in French-speaking Switzerland are not healthy yoghurt and organic cucumbers, but the most sheltered Swiss agriculture possible.

The demands of 2008 should be written in the constitution: higher prices and higher incomes for the farmers. If the milk price does not want to rise automatically, it must be assessed by the state, with tariffs, import bans and quite a lot of "promotion". Small businesses must be promoted. Regional marketing must be promoted. The structural diversity must be promoted. For taxpayers, this means: take all your wallets out. Make sure the green notes get stuck and take out the blue.

The Confederation has been trying to align Swiss agriculture with the market since the nineties. As a result of this policy, many farmers have ceased their activities, others have grown at their expense and are becoming more profitable. The initiators want this farmer to die & # 39; stop: the federal government should ensure that more people work in the industry again. Whatever it should do.

No one denies that the liberalization of recent decades has hurt many farmers. Being a farmer means working and nobody likes to work for prices that do not even cover the costs. But you simply can not ignore it: Swiss agriculture must become more competitive. A country that earns every second franc abroad abroad can not afford ultra-protective agriculture. New free trade agreements would thus be virtually impossible, existing trade contracts would be threatened.

Part of this development is the abandonment of non-profitable companies. This is a hard truth, but also a good truth. There is no human right to be a farmer.

Even if the farmers can no longer hear it: they have to try to be innovative. The fact that Switzerland talks about state pricing ten years after the milk attack in 2008 is certainly not proof of innovation. On the contrary, it shows a real refusal by certain farmers to think about the agriculture of tomorrow.

Many farmers still struggle in the milk and hope that it will eventually become golden butter. You can only imagine what they could achieve if they invested time and energy in the future instead of in the past. By the way, Martin Haab, a figurehead of the 2008 milk strike, has taken a step forward. He was co-founder of the "di fair Milch" label at the Säuliamt in Zurich. Whoever buys them guarantees farmers a fair milk price. That is an approach. There is no initiative for food sovereignty.

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